New mums, new born and toddlers living in the coronavirus era
Feelings of loneliness can feel apparent and sometimes frightening during the last months of pregnancy at the best of times, and especially for new Mums to be. A new chapter in your life is beginning and perhaps an uncertainty will begin to develop as your life starts to change. However, the thought of having your baby in the Coronavirus era, even after lockdown has eased, could bring about intense daunting thoughts for you.
Thinking about your baby's birth and those first few days and months ahead, you may find yourself asking the following questions:
- Will my pregnancy go ok?
- Will I be safe at hospital?
- Will my baby be healthy?
- Will it be safe for family to see my baby and be close?
- Will my baby catch the Coronavirus?
These types of thoughts and feelings are only natural but it is important not to let your thoughts manifest into a catastrophizing thinking style. Overthinking about something that might happen can be a waste of time and energy leading you to get stuck in a cycle, and finding it hard to get out of as this can lead to anxiety and depression.
Due to COVID-19, mental distress will no doubt have more of an impact on pregnant women and new mums in the months coming ahead. Limited access to talking to other mums can affect mental health due to feeling isolated with the questioning dilemma; 'Should I stay within my own four walls in a place where my baby and I will be safer?' or 'Should I go out and start mixing with other mums, when we get told it is OK to do so?'
Talking to other Mums with new babies and comparing notes about milestones, gaining knowledge by listening to firsthand stories about the trials and tribulations of raising small children, are all important parts of the process for Mothers to learn from other Mothers! Also, bringing into their awareness to understand and realise that others may be struggling or have gone through the same things and that sometimes, 'it is OK to be not OK' with a realisation that this is a phase that will pass.
Baby and toddler groups offer a platform for the latest news to be communicated between new parents about hints and tips of the latest 'best buys' in local supermarket chains, and the little 'snippets' that keep mums connected during the formative years of their offspring's new beginnings. In therapy, it is recognised about the important aspects of good mental health by 'keeping connected' with others and the benefit of 'keeping on learning.' For toddlers, parallel learning can begin to develop when they see other children playing - although learning to share comes at a later developmental stage.
- If you cannot meet up just yet why not put an advert in your local supermarket, local community forum page on Facebook for a Zoom or Skype meet up for new mums, via this proposal in the first instance, then progress to your baby and toddler group when the time is right.
Talking therapies can help ease your questioning intrusive thoughts to bring calmness and enabling you to enjoy these important precious moments. Counselling can help to elevate those feelings of loneliness at times for you to feel listened to no matter how big or small your worry may be.
It will also be important for you to engage in self-care, not only for yourself but the knock-on effect for your baby or toddler. A therapist can direct you towards additional strategies in this area. Talking through your anxious feelings during counselling can be like a refuelling for the week ahead. This can be a time to express and reflect on the inner you and not just being the mum, wife, partner and provider.
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